Believing the 2011 survey results of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the American nationals generate more than 240 million tons of waste every year. Often referred to as Municipal Solid Waste, this waste originates from households, schools, hospitals, and business establishments. This trash material often finds its place in the wasteland, where it is either recycled, trapped in a landfill, or incinerated.
Each of these different trash treatment methods has its own plus points and shortcomings. Understanding the different facets of every approach will definitely help you in making better, cost-effective waste management decisions that are beneficial for the community and the environment.
Recycling necessarily means managing the different elements present in the solid waste stream. Even if the amount of garbage produced by a single person has dramatically increased in the last 30 years, the rate of recycling has also gone up to match the increasing needs of garbage disposal.
Until 2009, around 34% of the solid waste was recycled, which is an admirable rise compared to the 10% of waste being recycled during 1980s. In 2009, the Americans were able to recover over 61 million tons of solid waste through the process of recycling. Composting, which is nature’s way of reprocessing the human waste, kept nearly 21 million tons of waste from being treated through landfills or incinerators.
The total amount of waste material composted and recycled managed to keep about 178 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide away from the atmosphere, which is similar to taking more than 33 million vehicles off the roads for a period of one year. On the whole, recycling helps in conserving natural resources, reduces the amount of emissions from goods manufactured by using the recycled materials, saves energy, generates revenue, and benefits the US manufacturing sector on the whole.